The absence of visible vehicle registration is a red flag to law enforcement. The whole point of the stickers and tag is quick, visual confirmation. That correctly displayed sticker and tag tell authorities, at a glance, without having to do a traffic stop, that the vehicle is lawfully registered.
That is why DMV requires tags and stickers to be displayed in the same locations on all vehicles. Law enforcement’s eyes go automatically to those designated posting areas to check every vehicle.
The display law that tells you where to place the tag or sticker is strict. They will fine you for having an improperly displayed tag or sticker if the tag or sticker is not attached to the required location on the vehicle.
Your tag and sticker also tell law enforcement that the driver, who is presumably the owner, has met the legal requirements for operating this particular vehicle on Texas roads. If that sticker and or tag is missing or unreadable, you can expect an encounter with your local police department.
Where to go to Replace Registration
Lost vehicle registration or stolen vehicle registration here in Texas requires a trip to the local tax office in your current county of residence. You need to go as soon as you discover damaged or missing registration.
This is not something you want to put off doing unless you have plenty of money you want to donate to the traffic division of your local police department.
At the tax office, you can make application for vehicle registration replacement. The cost is minimal, less than $10, in most counties. That is a very small amount to pay compared to the fine for driving without registration.
The form you need is the VTR-60; it is the only form you need to apply for registration replacement. It is available for download as a PDF at the Texas DMV website. There you can download it, print it out, complete it and take it with you to the tax/tag office.
Leave the parts of your registration you still have, if any, on the vehicle to drive to the tax office. Take a screw driver or a pair of pliers (whatever you need to remove what is left) and some kind of wet wipe with you.
Plan to remove and turn in what is left of the old registration once you arrive at the tax/tag office. Once you have purchased the new set, apply it to the vehicle before you leave that parking lot. Otherwise, you risk being stopped and fined for improperly displayed vehicle identification.
Pointers to Complete the Form
You must be accurate with your entries on this form. To make sure you fill in the fields with the right information, let’s go over it.
The top section labeled, “Tax Assessor-collector use only” leave blank for the tax assessor to complete. They have the plate information on file in the computer, but it is a good idea to take any of your information you may still have with you in case they ask you for it.
At the “General Requirements” field, the box has the three choices: Current license plate(s); Current plate registration sticker; Current windshield registration sticker. Check all three boxes so that you have a complete set of new registration plate and stickers.
The next section asks for your name, address and contact information. It needs no explanation; just be accurate with your entries and print legibly.
The next field labeled, “Vehicle Information” is the most important part for you to complete accurately. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is your car’s major identifier.
Think of it like your vehicle’s social security number. It is a long series of numbers and letters, and if you miss one, or write down the wrong letter or number, you have just identified another vehicle, one that is not yours. Be very carful recording this number.
The “Year” field means year of manufacture or model year, not necessarily the year you bought it. “Make” refers to the maker of the vehicle; is it a Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge or other? “Body Style” means which make of that particular model; is it a four-door sedan, two-door coupe, van or SUV?
Read the notice at the top of the bottom box. In short, if the information you are providing on this form is wrong or incomplete, whether meant to deceive or not, you have just committed a crime.
Your personal signature at the bottom of the page is your admission of this crime. Avoid legal entanglement and be honest on this form.